Is peanut butter good for you?: 6 remarkable health benefits
Is peanut butter good for you? Peanut butter is very popular, convenient, and tasty. They are often associated with sweets, yet not so much in an optimal health manner. I’ll show you the 6 remarkable health benefits of peanut butter.
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Remarkable health benefits: Is peanut butter good for you?
When it comes to the question “Is peanut butter good for you?”, we simply associate it with “sweets” first – peanut butter cookies, peanut butter balls, PBJ, etc., not in a healthy manner.
Peanut butter actually offers great health benefits for your body. These are the reasons why peanut butter is good for you!
Remarkable health benefits: Is peanut butter good for you?
1. Weight loss
2. Improving heart health
Peanut butter contains many nutrients that can improve heart health including:
- Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
- Vitamin E
The proportion of unsaturated fats (PUFAs and MUFAs – “Healthy fats“) to saturated fats in the diet plays an important role in heart health. Peanut butter has a similar ratio to olive oil. Monounsaturated fat can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Research suggests that including 46 g per day of peanuts or peanut butter into an American Diabetes Association (ADA) diet plan for 6 months could benefit the heart, improve blood lipid profiles, and control weight for people with diabetes. A high intake of nuts may have links to a reduced risk of mortality from heart disease or other causes.
Peanut butter is high in calories. So limit the intake if you don’t want to gain weight.
3. Good for Diabetes
Peanut butter is a relatively low carbohydrate food with good amounts of fats, protein and some fiber. Peanut butter with no added sugar doesn’t have a significant impact on blood glucose levels – good for diabetes.
The ADA recommends replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats in their diets. They suggest peanut butter, peanuts, and peanut oil as good sources of monounsaturated fat. Eating peanut butter or peanuts manages blood glucose levels.
Peanut butter is a good source of magnesium, which is an essential nutrient for people with diabetes. Continuous periods of high blood sugar may reduce magnesium levels in the body. Low magnesium levels are linked to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Peanut butter is an easy way to increase calorie and unsaturated fat intake. Many bodybuilders take peanut butter in their diets.
Peanut butter is a source of protein, essential for building and repairing muscles. Peanut butter doesn’t contain all the essential amino acids. However, it contributes to your daily protein intake.
Calorie amounts will vary based on stature, activity level, and metabolic rate. The more you exercise, the more calories you should take.
Daily recommended calorie intake:
Women: about 1,600–2,400 calories per day
Men: up to 3,000 calories per day typically
5. Reducing the risk of breast disease
Eating peanut butter from a young age may reduce the risk of benign breast disease (BBD). BBD increases the risk of breast cancer.
A study in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, reports that eating peanut butter and nuts at any age may result in a lower risk of developing BDD by age 30.
6. Good for Alzheimer’s and memory impairment
Niacin in foods helps prevent Alzheimer’s and other memory impairment conditions. One study shows how foods rich in niacin content reduced the chances of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease by up to 70%. Peanuts contain lots of niacin and vitamin E that actively fights off the early onset of Alzheimer’s.
More researches show that monounsaturated fats can directly affect our memories and cognitive functions. Olive oil and peanut butter contain lots of monounsaturated fats. These fats help maintain good mental health and function.
Nutritional facts of peanut butter
Good Protein Source
Peanut is actually a legume (beans, peas, and lentils) that happens to look and taste like a nut. Nutritionally, peanuts act like nuts, too. Although peanut butter is fairly protein-rich, legume protein is much lower in methionine and cysteine – compared to animal protein.
People including vegans who rely on peanut butter or beans as their main protein source, methionine insufficiency is a real risk.
Peanut butter is a fairly balanced energy source that supplies all of the three macronutrients:
100g portion of peanut butter contains:
- Carbohydrate: 20 g of carbs (13% of calories), 6 of which are fiber.
- Protein: 25 g of protein (15% of calories), which is quite a lot compared to most other plant foods.
- Fat: 50 g of fat, totaling about 72% of calories.
Low in Carbs
Pure peanut butter contains only 20% carbs, making it suitable for a low-carb diet. It also causes a very low rise in blood sugar, so is a great option for people with type 2 diabetes.
Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
Peanut butter is fairly nutritious and good for you! 100-gram portion of peanut butter provides many vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 67% of the RDA
- Vitamin E: 45% of the RDA
- Vitamin B6: 27% of the RDA
- Manganese: 73% of the RDA
- Magnesium: 39% of the RDA
- Copper: 24% of the RDA
- Folate: 18% of the RDA
It is also high in biotin and contains decent amounts of vitamin B5, iron, potassium, zinc, and selenium.
Potassium: Did you know that peanuts have actually more potassium than bananas? Peanut butter is one of the best sources of potassium. Potassium eases off the excessive harmful lactic acid build-up in the body. It also eliminates the side effects of sodium overconsumption.
Magnesium: Peanut butter provides 14 % of your daily need in 2 tablespoons. Magnesium is important for glucose metabolism. Research shows that people with higher magnesium intakes have a significantly lower risk for diabetes.
Increasing magnesium may also help reduce stroke risk and build bone density in older women. PB&J sandwich actually detoxifies, regulates your body temperature, gives you extra energy, gives you stronger teeth and bones, and helps to maintain a healthy nervous system.
Rich in Antioxidants
Peanut butter is quite rich in antioxidants like p-coumaric acid, which may reduce arthritis in rats. It’s good for your skin, too.
High in Healthy Fats
The fat in peanut butter is healthy monounsaturated fat, the good kind of fat your body needs. The calories from healthy fats are absorbed much more quickly and not stored as body fat. That peanut butter becomes instant energy and does not linger on your waist. Bodybuilders often use peanut butter as their fuel source when they work out.
Half of the fat in peanut butter is made up of oleic acid (monounsaturated fat), linked to several health benefits like improving insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes. Peanut butter can lessen the chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Peanut butter is very high in fat, 100 g portion contains whopping 588 calories. Calorie for calorie, peanut butter isn’t that nutritious compared to low-calorie plant foods like spinach. Despite the high-calorie content, eating moderate amounts of pure peanut butter or whole peanuts is perfectly good for a weight loss.
What is the healthy portion size?
Eat no more than 2 tbsp per day as a part of a balanced diet. Because peanut butter is high in calories. Beneficial fats and protein can help to keep you full for longer.
Disadvantages of peanut butter
High in calories, saturated fats, and sodium
- 1 tablespoon contains around 115 calories.
- Each serving contains 3.05 g of saturated fats (23.5 % of RDI). Aim for less than 13 g of saturated fat a day.
- It contains 152 mg of sodium (10.1 % of an adult’s daily intake of sodium of 1500 mg.
Peanut butter is good for you in general. However, peanut allergy has been increasing in children. Peanuts and other nuts are one of the 8 major allergens, with a peanut or tree nut allergy affecting over 3 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It occurs by direct/cross-contact, and inhale.
The NIH also notes that 20 % of those with an allergy will eventually outgrow and stop having reactions to nuts.
An allergic response to peanuts usually occurs within minutes after exposure. Peanut allergy signs and symptoms can include:
- Digestive problems, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting
- Itching or tingling in or around the mouth and throat
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Skin reactions, such as hives, redness or swelling
- Tightening of the throat
Anaphylaxis: A life-threatening reaction
Peanut allergy is the most common cause of food-induced anaphylaxis, a medical emergency that requires treatment with an epinephrine (adrenaline) injector (EpiPen, Auvi-Q) and a trip to the emergency room.
Anaphylaxis signs and symptoms can include:
- Constriction of airways
- Swelling of the throat that makes it difficult to breathe
- A severe drop in blood pressure (shock)
- Rapid pulse
- Dizziness or loss of consciousness
A Potential Source of Aflatoxins
Peanut butter is quite nutritious, however, it may contain harmful substances like aflatoxins.
Peanuts grow underground, where they tend to be colonized by Aspergillus (ubiquitous mold). This mold is a source of aflatoxins, which are highly carcinogenic.
Some human studies have linked aflatoxin exposure to liver cancer, stunted growth in children and mental retardation. According to one source, the processing of peanuts into peanut butter reduces the levels of aflatoxins by 89%.
Essential peanut butter ingredients
Is peanut butter good for you? We love “PB”, but don’t know much about peanut butter. To be labeled peanut butter in the US, it must contain 90% peanuts. Roughly 540 peanuts are used to make one jar.
Peanut butter is a relatively unprocessed food: it’s just peanuts, often roasted, that are ground into a paste.
However, this doesn’t apply to many commercial peanut butters. Those peanut butter often contain various added ingredients: sugar, vegetable oils, and even trans fat to enhance the flavor. Eating too much added sugar and trans fat has created various health issues like heart disease.
Peanut butter buying guide
Not all peanut butter is equal nor good for you. Which type of peanut butter is good for you? Know that there is no nutritional difference between smooth and crunchy peanut butter.
Here’s the definitive buying guide of peanut butter:
- Skip brands with more than 3g of sugar
- Avoid products that list hydrogenated oils
- Skip the “no-stir” variety since it often signals added oils
- Look for an “unsalted” version to reduce sodium
The healthiest kinds contain just peanuts and salt (but not too much). Check the ingredient labels before you buy them.
Natural and conventional peanut butter
Both have almost the same nutritional values. Natural peanut butter is not necessarily healthier than conventional, except that it most definitely doesn’t contain ingredients like hydrogenated vegetable oils (unhealthy fats), corn maltodextrin, and mono-and di-glycerides. Avoid those ingredients.
Natural peanut butter may need a little more stirring without the added emulsifiers and may have a bit of a shorter shelf life than ones with hydrogenated oil. Store them in a dark, cool cabinet or the fridge to make them last longer.
“Reduced/low fat” peanut butter
Surprisingly, this isn’t an easy answer. They often contain the same amount of calories and more added sugar than normal versions. Most low-fat ones make up for the cut back on nutrients by adding in sugar and partially hydrogenated oils, or trans fats, which are not good for your health.
Flavored peanut butter
With recent growing popularity, we start seeing different blends like coconut and sunflower seeds, or flavored ones like peanut butter and banana. Check the labels to make sure not to contain extra salts, sugars, or preservatives for your healthiest choice.
Remember: those added flavor ones almost always contain added sugar, carbohydrates, and other shelf-stabilizing agents. So avoid those!
How to make peanut butter at home
What you need:
Quality roasted peanuts and food processor
- Put some roasted peanuts into the bowl of the food processor.
- Turn on the processor for a minute, then scrape the sides using a spatula.
- Repeat the process for 2 or 3 more minutes, or until the peanut butter exhibits that smooth and shiny texture.
- Add some natural sweeteners like dates or ingredients such as salt to taste. Don’t put too much salt.
Conclusion: Now you don't need to wonder whether if peanut butter is good for you or not. Peanut butter is good for you and offer great health benefits. Eating simple peanut butter with moderate consumption is good for your health. Just be careful of over consumption.
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